Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Mar got engaged

almost 2013. hold on tight!

I was the plus-one at a wedding in Miami this weekend. pretty cool wedding, pretty cool town. I had fun. I took a lot of terrible, blurry pictures in poor light, but I will share one, just one, that I thought came out okay. and speaking of weddings …

Mar is gonna tie the knot, bros

Mar is gonna tie the knot, bros!

Miami was where I learned that my sister, Mary, got engaged to longtime boyfriend Dave. what are we at, four years? that sounds right.

anyway, this is legit. Dave is a good guy. example: mom calls him Dave-master, a play off of her longtime pet name for me, dude-master.

now, I really don’t like these handles. I think they make mom appear affected when she uses them, and despite my protestations they’ve proven quite sticky. but! the extension of the -master tag proved that a) the fam is on board and b) so is Dave, because he’s borne his oddball moniker like a damn champ. well-borne, Dave.

so! congratulations, Mar and Dave. this is good news all around.

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kitchen table

did you have a good Christmas? I had a pretty good one. I did a lot of hanging out at my mom’s house in Valparaiso. below is a typical scene from the kitchen table, late at night. everybody at mom’s house stays up late; grandma the latest. she’s big on solitaire.

play solitaire. drink some coffee.

play a little solitaire. drink a little coffee. read about Wal-Mart.

last evening I went with my mother to the movies. we saw Les Miserables. screen actors Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe belting out the hits! what a world we live in.

and then afterward, I hung out with a couple of buds from high school. we wrapped up the night watching reruns of To Catch a Predator. this is the show where they bait sad, lonely pedophiles into setting up dates with minors online, film them being confronted with their X-rated chat transcripts, and then send in a juiced-up squad of cops for a swarming, physical takedown. this is what passes for entertainment these days! you love it.

it has been a good trip, but it’s time to go. so goodbye for now, Indiana! I have to jet. but I will see you again soon.

ride the rails

I took an overnight train trip from Washington DC to Indiana a few days ago!

there is something to train travel. I want to say that there’s a spirit of camraderie, or something close to it, among passengers taking an outmoded form of transportation. and though that’s definitely bullshit, I like it anyway; there’s always some sort of interesting conversation going on. for instance, consider the partially deaf guy talking to the woman seated next to him: “have you ever been to the nudist camp in Paw Paw (WV)?” or the lady missing most of her teeth who complained to a conductor about one of hs coworker’s alleged behavior: “she hit me, and she called me a pussy, sir.” that’s no way to treat a customer, Amtrak. get wise.

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the guy behind the counter at 7-Eleven actually broke $2 so I can do some damn laundry! clearly it’s the holidays. peace on Earth and good will toward men, and all that jazz.

the Bears lost in December again

I just watched the Bears lose in stupendous fashion to their rival Green Bay on my little computer here. their eighth loss to the Packers in their last nine attempts. and their loss was terrible and awesome.

they went up early. and then they went down fast. and then they were hopelessly incompetent on offense in the second half, but they played some solid D and stayed in the game. and then, ultimately, they lost, in a flurry of offensive pass interference penalties and last-gasp hail marys. and it was legit.

keep on heading through the woods, man

keep on heading through the woods, man

a big chunk of America watches football, but something tells me that you aren’t especially a fan. I think this is a good thing; I’m telling you, staying away from this bullshit will save you a lot of grief.

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right-to-work in Michigan

a day or two ago, the state of Michigan — the cradle, many say, of the American labor movement — rolled out some right-to-work laws. have you heard about right-to-work laws? I’d argue that they’re kind of opaque things; “right to work” sounds pretty straightforward, but, really, the name is just window dressing.

I want to get this down so that I understand it correctly: right-to-work laws makes union dues strictly voluntary. while federal law requires that the wages and benefits a union negotiates with an employer be extended to all employees in a workplace — whether they’re union members or not — right-to-work laws scrap the requirement that non-union workers pay the union a fee for the fruits of those negotiations.

that’s bad for unions. unions need money to be part of the public debate, to wrestle with unfriendly politicians and back those that support labor’s agenda. in the past, they would physically apply leverage with picket lines … but you don’t see too many picket lines anymore because public opinion doesn’t like strikes, and ultimately these are battles for public opinion that unions now fight, about complex, sweeping subjects like economic morality. and public opinion doesn’t just turn on a dime; you’ve got to have a string of victories to get anything going. but with emptier coffers (a fundamental purpose of right-to-work laws) unions will have an even harder time fighting their battles.

anyway, organized labor just took another shot to the chops. and depending on your politics or on your view of economic morality (an admittedly loaded term that I just made up), you might think that’s a good thing. or, hell, you might not even have an opinion; a lot of liberals that I know don’t seem to care about the health of organized labor, and if they do they don’t see any benefit to unionism at all.

this is their prerogative. but, as this academic puts it:

This is the experiment America’s now having. Obama has just won re-election. A liberal president is popular. But juxtapose that with what just happened in Michigan. So the question is, can you have a liberal, progressive America without unions? History says no. For 200 years the existence of the union movement has been wedded to the rise of democracy, to the rise of liberalism. We saw this here, in South Korea, in Spain, in Africa. But now America is moving toward an experiment with whether it can have liberalism without unions. I think the answer is no. But we’ll see.

we are rooting for you: holiday letter 2012

you know what’s a good song? “everybody needs somebody to love” as sung by Solomon Burke. Solomon Burke used to perform while seated on a throne that he’d have placed on stage with him. Solomon Burke passed away in 2010. Solomon Burke was the man.

but I digress. the family Christmas letter is complete! please check it out below:

Season’s greetings from the McMullans!

merry xmas

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holiday letter prep

my new employer has loaded me up with a new iPhone.

how do you stylize this? iPhone, that’s how Apple does it, I think. Iphone? IPHONE. oh, hell, could be anything. let’s just consult the AP stylebook, which is kind of like a religious text in the world of grammar.

… and the AP stylebook — I’ve got my copy right here — says, “iPhone. … Use IPhone when the word starts a sentence or a headline.” well, okay. that sounds good to me.

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